Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Approximately 10% of people will suffer from this condition during their lifetime. Runners and people who are on their feet every day all day are at a greater risk. The good news is that plantar fasciitis can usually be treated with home remedies. The key is in catching it early. If you notice your heel pain during the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning, chances are high that you have plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an irritation or inflammation of the band of tough tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The condition occurs when the strong band of ligaments that support the arch of your foot becomes irritated and swollen.
The plantar fascia is made to absorb weight and the high stresses and strains we place on our feet. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages or tears the tissue. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in heel pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis. In addition to prolonged standing or running, other risk factors can predispose you to this condition. They include:
- Tighter calf muscles
- Very high arch
- New or increased activity
Common Symptoms, Home Treatments
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. An orthopaedic physician will perform a physical exam. X-rays and other imaging tests help doctors accurately diagnose the condition. These tests help rule out other causes of heel pain, such as fractures or arthritis. On a positive note many patients will improve within months of starting simple at-home treatments, like rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. There are other simple things that can be done independently. These include:
- Plantar fascia stretch
- (See stretching exercises here): https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/plantar-fasciitis-stretches
- Support shoes and orthotic inserts
- Night splints
- Buying the right shoes for your occupation, hobby or sport
- Compression socks
When to See a Doctor
However, If pain persists for months, it may indicate it’s time to consult a doctor about more advanced treatments. While not all medical professionals care for plantar fasciitis the same way, some common therapies include:
Special prescription orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
- Surgery is generally considered only after 12 months of aggressive nonsurgical treatment
Research has shown that shoe inserts significantly improve the quality of life of people with plantar fasciitis in just three months. Here’s a link to the top insoles for plantar fasciitis: http://comfortingfootwear.com/best-insoles-for-plantar-fasciitis/#pfinsoles. Beyond over-the-counter inserts, Dr. Spiegl can fit and order specialty custom-fit orthotics.
Paul V. Spiegl, M.D.
Our foot and ankle specialist, Paul V. Spiegl M.D., offers both surgical and non-surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis including non-invasive, extracorporeal shockwave therapy and custom fit orthotics. Learn more about Dr. Spiegl at http://www.perimeterortho.com/paul-spiegl-md.html. We’re here if you need us. Call 404-255-5595.